Guest speakers at the Resource Industry Network June briefing, from left, International Trade Committee chair Tim Magoffin, Resources Centre of Excellence industry steering committee chair Tony Caruso, Mackay Regional Council CEO Craig Doyle and BHP's Craig Wainwright.
Guest speakers at the Resource Industry Network June briefing, from left, International Trade Committee chair Tim Magoffin, Resources Centre of Excellence industry steering committee chair Tony Caruso, Mackay Regional Council CEO Craig Doyle and BHP's Craig Wainwright. Resource Industry Network

Multi-million-dollar resources centre a step closer

DESIGN plans are being finalised for a multi-million-dollar skills training and research centre for Mackay, with construction set to start late this year.

Resources Centre of Excellence industry steering committee chair Tony Caruso provided the update on the project to a packed room at the Resource Industry Network's June industry briefing.

Mr Caruso described stage one of the $3.6 million Resources Centre of Excellence as the "centrepiece” of the project, which includes plans for an underground simulated mine at the Paget site.

"What we're looking to do is transform Mackay from a DNA of being very much a blue collar and swinging spanners-type workforce to a very automated, technology thinking-type workforce,” Mr Caruso said.

"What the facility will do is create the catalyst for that shift from doing what we've always done in isolation to leaning more towards technology and using the facility to start to train people in different skills across the region.”

Stage two of the centre will involve an automated truck circuit, while stage three will see the centre partner with CQUniversity.

"(That will involve) trying to change up the curriculum at the university so we start to think about these mining roles of the future, with the end game being we start to shift the whole DNA of this region and build a critical mass that is based around technology,” Mr Caruso said.

The centre will be linked to the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday Mining Equipment Technical Services export hub, with plans for this also outlined at Friday's RIN June industry briefing.

The export hub will provide opportunities for local businesses to introduce METS products and services to an international community.

It secured a $353,000 grant from the Federal Government, matched by the Local Buying Foundation and State Government, bringing total investment to $706,840 for the two-stage project being rolled out over three years.

International Trade Committee chair Tim Magoffin said the hub would be based at the Resources Centre of Excellence.

"The first stage will be really about getting a professional consultancy in to do further market analysis specifically for the MET sector,” he said.

"The second stage is about employing a dedicated export hub manager who will then be able to build on that strategy.”



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